Month: December 2010

Super Quick and Easy Life Hacks for a Happy New Year

Many people this time of year reflect upon the past year and look ahead with new goals, resolutions, or at the very least: wishes for improvement.  I have a confession. I don’t really make New Year resolutions.  Not that I’m perfect, I just get bogged down in the details…and the guilt when I don’t fulfill them.  Why set my self up for failure? (All though I have heard that writing them down and breaking them up into attainable steps works. Hey, wait- I already do some of that with housekeeping.  Keep reading. You’ll see.)  Sometimes I just take the easy way out.

Here are some of my “easy way out” strategies.  Some of them require just a tiny bit of effort on the front end.  Over time, they really save me BIG in time, effort, and money.  Some keep me healthy. Heck, some of them even make me look better!
  1. Post a grocery list on the refrigerator.  Not on the counter.  Not in your head.  Put it ON the fridge. Whether you use a dry erase board, a pre-printed list, or a plain ol’ piece of paper (that’s what I do), you can quickly post grocery items as you run out.  Train the kiddos and hubby to do it too. This really does help eliminate forgotten items and trips back to the store. Now, if you really want to save yourself in the long run, take the time to organize your pantry.  Don’t go all Martha Stewart, just put all the cans of tomato soup together. (No offense, Martha, its just that most of us don’t have have a staff to help and tons of money to spend on closet hardware.)  Group like items together.  At one quick glance you can see what you have and what you need to add to the grocery list.
  2. Speaking of your pantry, as you run out of items replace them with the healthier, less processed version when you’re at the store. One by one you’re feeding your family more nutritious meals. You’re not throwing food out either-wasting money.  It’s not so overwhelming this way.  Small steps can make good habits last longer.
  3. Keep a small notepad in your purse.  I use the notepad on my iPhone.  Train yourself to jot everything down.  This way you can keep track of errands you need to run, gifts you need to purchase, items you need to add to the grocery list, etc.  Not everybody is a list maker, I know, but it does eliminate that feeling of, “I know there was one more thing but I just can’t remember.”  This way you can save room in your brain for the really important stuff!
  4. If you have trouble finding time to spend with God, break it up into smaller, do-able chunks during the day.  See my post on How I Abide In Him for easy ideas.
  5. Trying to get your house in order (especially after Christmas guests, and kids home on school holiday) can seem impossible.  Focus on smaller tasks.  Spend just 10-15 minutes once or twice a day on the trouble spots and you’ll be organized in no time.  This is how I keep my housekeeping chores from getting away.
  6. If you’re having a hard time exercising, this one is for you!  At least three times a week, put on some great music, set the timer for 15 minutes, grab the kids and dance your buns off.  March, run, jump, dance- whatever- just go all out for 15 minutes.  Increase your time as your endurance builds.  What’s better than having fun with the kids and getting a good cardio workout too?
  7. Lay out your clothes (and the kids’) the night before.  You’ll be amazed at the time this saves in the morning. No more “what to wear?”  No more wasting precious time trying on things. No more fights with the kids.  I layout my clothes on Sunday night for the week ahead. No kidding, I do! Use an over-the-door hook or just put those outfits together in the first space of your closet rod.  
  8. Even if you’re a stay at home mom, you need to have at least one “go-to” outfit ready. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that says “I’m fabulous.” You’ll feel fabulous too running errands in something other than sweats. Jeans and a trendy top (those tattoo t-shirts hide stains) paired with cute low-heels and big earrings are a must. Don’t spend much. You can pull together a great, yet inexpensive outfit at most discount or dollar stores if you take the time to look. I’m serious about the big (preferably hoop) earrings.  My theory is that they draw attention away from the dark circles under my eyes. 
  9. Keep those dry trouble spots smooth with a stick moisturizer. (I’ve been using one made by Palmer’s but Santa left Heel-Tastic in my stocking. I like it too.)  You can find one in the health & beauty section EVERYWHERE.  Keep it by your bedside or by your toothbrush if you have trouble remembering (like me) to use it. I swipe my heels, knees and elbows in the morning and the evening.  It’s a five second spa treatment with no greasy hands!
  10. Just like the go-to outfit, I have a quick go-to makeup routine for the days I want to look put together but just don’t have the time.  Tinted moisturizer + Lip Crayon + Mascara = Instant (but super quick) GLAM.  Use a mocha or mauve lip crayon in the crease of your eyelids and blend with your fingertips.  With the residue from your fingertips, swipe along your cheek bones. If you use a waterproof mascara, you can use the crayon underneath your lower lashes for a soft liner affect.  Of course, don’t forget your lips! With only three products and your fingers you can be gorgeous in less than three minutes. Really- three minutes! 
These tips are so simple yet can revolutionize your day to day routine. I’d love to hear some of your short cuts and ideas!  Let me know if you try mine and how it goes. Why should getting organized, living healthy and looking great be expensive or hard?

Super Quick and Easy Life Hacks for a Happy New Year

Many people this time of year reflect upon the past year and look ahead with new goals, resolutions, or at the very least: wishes for improvement.  I have a confession. I don’t really make New Year resolutions.  Not that I’m perfect, I just get bogged down in the details…and the guilt when I don’t fulfill them.  Why set my self up for failure? (All though I have heard that writing them down and breaking them up into attainable steps works. Hey, wait- I already do some of that with housekeeping.  Keep reading. You’ll see.)  Sometimes I just take the easy way out.

Here are some of my “easy way out” strategies.  Some of them require just a tiny bit of effort on the front end.  Over time, they really save me BIG in time, effort, and money.  Some keep me healthy. Heck, some of them even make me look better!
  1. Post a grocery list on the refrigerator.  Not on the counter.  Not in your head.  Put it ON the fridge. Whether you use a dry erase board, a pre-printed list, or a plain ol’ piece of paper (that’s what I do), you can quickly post grocery items as you run out.  Train the kiddos and hubby to do it too. This really does help eliminate forgotten items and trips back to the store. Now, if you really want to save yourself in the long run, take the time to organize your pantry.  Don’t go all Martha Stewart, just put all the cans of tomato soup together. (No offense, Martha, its just that most of us don’t have have a staff to help and tons of money to spend on closet hardware.)  Group like items together.  At one quick glance you can see what you have and what you need to add to the grocery list.
  2. Speaking of your pantry, as you run out of items replace them with the healthier, less processed version when you’re at the store. One by one you’re feeding your family more nutritious meals. You’re not throwing food out either-wasting money.  It’s not so overwhelming this way.  Small steps can make good habits last longer.
  3. Keep a small notepad in your purse.  I use the notepad on my iPhone.  Train yourself to jot everything down.  This way you can keep track of errands you need to run, gifts you need to purchase, items you need to add to the grocery list, etc.  Not everybody is a list maker, I know, but it does eliminate that feeling of, “I know there was one more thing but I just can’t remember.”  This way you can save room in your brain for the really important stuff!
  4. If you have trouble finding time to spend with God, break it up into smaller, do-able chunks during the day.  See my post on How I Abide In Him for easy ideas.
  5. Trying to get your house in order (especially after Christmas guests, and kids home on school holiday) can seem impossible.  Focus on smaller tasks.  Spend just 10-15 minutes once or twice a day on the trouble spots and you’ll be organized in no time.  This is how I keep my housekeeping chores from getting away.
  6. If you’re having a hard time exercising, this one is for you!  At least three times a week, put on some great music, set the timer for 15 minutes, grab the kids and dance your buns off.  March, run, jump, dance- whatever- just go all out for 15 minutes.  Increase your time as your endurance builds.  What’s better than having fun with the kids and getting a good cardio workout too?
  7. Lay out your clothes (and the kids’) the night before.  You’ll be amazed at the time this saves in the morning. No more “what to wear?”  No more wasting precious time trying on things. No more fights with the kids.  I layout my clothes on Sunday night for the week ahead. No kidding, I do! Use an over-the-door hook or just put those outfits together in the first space of your closet rod.  
  8. Even if you’re a stay at home mom, you need to have at least one “go-to” outfit ready. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that says “I’m fabulous.” You’ll feel fabulous too running errands in something other than sweats. Jeans and a trendy top (those tattoo t-shirts hide stains) paired with cute low-heels and big earrings are a must. Don’t spend much. You can pull together a great, yet inexpensive outfit at most discount or dollar stores if you take the time to look. I’m serious about the big (preferably hoop) earrings.  My theory is that they draw attention away from the dark circles under my eyes. 
  9. Keep those dry trouble spots smooth with a stick moisturizer. (I’ve been using one made by Palmer’s but Santa left Heel-Tastic in my stocking. I like it too.)  You can find one in the health & beauty section EVERYWHERE.  Keep it by your bedside or by your toothbrush if you have trouble remembering (like me) to use it. I swipe my heels, knees and elbows in the morning and the evening.  It’s a five second spa treatment with no greasy hands!
  10. Just like the go-to outfit, I have a quick go-to makeup routine for the days I want to look put together but just don’t have the time.  Tinted moisturizer + Lip Crayon + Mascara = Instant (but super quick) GLAM.  Use a mocha or mauve lip crayon in the crease of your eyelids and blend with your fingertips.  With the residue from your fingertips, swipe along your cheek bones. If you use a waterproof mascara, you can use the crayon underneath your lower lashes for a soft liner affect.  Of course, don’t forget your lips! With only three products and your fingers you can be gorgeous in less than three minutes. Really- three minutes! 
These tips are so simple yet can revolutionize your day to day routine. I’d love to hear some of your short cuts and ideas!  Let me know if you try mine and how it goes. Why should getting organized, living healthy and looking great be expensive or hard?

How To Survive Loss During The Holiday Season

You were expecting something more festive, right? I know, jingle bells and all…but tragedies don’t wait for convenient dates on the calender. Grief and coping with loss can be even more difficult when everyone else is celebrating.  I write this post hoping to help if you or someone you know is experiencing a loss or crisis.  It can be so hard but you can survive.  I know because I did…and this is part of my story.

Last year between Christmas and New Year my unborn baby died. For several days our world stood still while we waited to see a heartbeat.  We had seen it just two weeks before- blinking like a Christmas tree light.  And then nothing, only silent stillness on a sonogram.  The last thing I remember before surgery was trying so hard not to sob and wondering what in the world had caused that sweet little light to quit blinking.  While everyone else was celebrating my husband and I were grieving.  For weeks after, we waited on negative test results to rule out a rare form of cancer. I want to share what I learned through the healing process. Maybe it can give you a little hope.  Or at least I want to let you know that you’re not alone.  Someone knows and cares that your heart is breaking.  I do and that’s why I’m offering what worked for me.  Use what you can and dismiss the rest.

  1. Allow yourself to grieve.  Forget the stiff upper chin.  You don’t get extra points for suffering in silence. It’s okay to show your hurt. Whether its death, divorce, or a pink slip: loss HURTS and pretending that it doesn’t helps no one. That being said, you can’t wallow in it forever either.  We had a private memorial service at Church one week after my surgery.  I let myself cry and mourn that week but had determined that once the service was over I WOULD BEGIN TO HEAL.  It’s important to allow yourself to move forward.
  2. Hit the autopilot button. I had a hard time dealing with people’s (mostly stupid) statements so I just went into robot mode and mechanically replied “thank you for your prayers” to whatever comment was offered.  I figure that most people don’t mean to be hurtful- they just truly don’t know what to say. Side note: if your loved one has a miscarriage DO NOT say things like “something was probably wrong with it anyway,” “at least you didn’t get to hold it,” or “did the doctor say what you did wrong?” Just say “I’m sorry for your loss.  I’ll be praying for you.” 
  3. Quit asking “why.”  Talk about it with a friend or a professional but don’t get stuck in the “why” stage. There may be a medical reason that can physically help you; however, there is no emotionally acceptable or comforting answer.  Bad things happen.  Very bad things happen and trying to make sense out of the senseless only tortures you and prolongs your pain.  I remember crying out to God.  I didn’t get a reason why but I did get reminded that He knew exactly how it felt to lose a child. 
  4. Resume your daily routines- whether you feel like it or not.  Staying engaged is essential to keep short term grief from turning into long term depression. Shower, eat, work, exercise.  Don’t give up on life just because you’re hurting.  Don’t give up on God, either- even if your faith is wavering.  Keep plugging along.  Keep moving forward.  Baby steps count! You’ll get a little bit stronger and better everyday. You will get better.
  5. Realize that you won’t ever get over it but you will move past it.  There is a difference. It is vitally important to remember that while the feelings of loss and sadness will remain, the intense pain will one day subside.  Don’t feel guilty for beginning to get better, for enjoying others, and life again, or for growing beyond the grief. Life never stands still.  Everything changes: the good, the bad- it all moves along. 

Every one’s process and time is unique.  Don’t push yourself too fast or too hard.  Don’t beat yourself up- for feeling bad or for feeling good.  Emotions vary- it’s normal.  If you think you are not getting better or if you ever think about harming yourself or others, PLEASE GET HELP.  Your pastor, doctor, or mental health care center can direct you to available resources.

Over the past two years my husband and I have experienced several losses. I still cry a little sometimes. I am still healing.  I’m still growing. You will too.

How To Survive Loss During The Holiday Season

You were expecting something more festive, right? I know, jingle bells and all…but tragedies don’t wait for convenient dates on the calender. Grief and coping with loss can be even more difficult when everyone else is celebrating.  I write this post hoping to help if you or someone you know is experiencing a loss or crisis.  It can be so hard but you can survive.  I know because I did…and this is part of my story.

Last year between Christmas and New Year my unborn baby died. For several days our world stood still while we waited to see a heartbeat.  We had seen it just two weeks before- blinking like a Christmas tree light.  And then nothing, only silent stillness on a sonogram.  The last thing I remember before surgery was trying so hard not to sob and wondering what in the world had caused that sweet little light to quit blinking.  While everyone else was celebrating my husband and I were grieving.  For weeks after, we waited on negative test results to rule out a rare form of cancer. I want to share what I learned through the healing process. Maybe it can give you a little hope.  Or at least I want to let you know that you’re not alone.  Someone knows and cares that your heart is breaking.  I do and that’s why I’m offering what worked for me.  Use what you can and dismiss the rest.

  1. Allow yourself to grieve.  Forget the stiff upper chin.  You don’t get extra points for suffering in silence. It’s okay to show your hurt. Whether its death, divorce, or a pink slip: loss HURTS and pretending that it doesn’t helps no one. That being said, you can’t wallow in it forever either.  We had a private memorial service at Church one week after my surgery.  I let myself cry and mourn that week but had determined that once the service was over I WOULD BEGIN TO HEAL.  It’s important to allow yourself to move forward.
  2. Hit the autopilot button. I had a hard time dealing with people’s (mostly stupid) statements so I just went into robot mode and mechanically replied “thank you for your prayers” to whatever comment was offered.  I figure that most people don’t mean to be hurtful- they just truly don’t know what to say. Side note: if your loved one has a miscarriage DO NOT say things like “something was probably wrong with it anyway,” “at least you didn’t get to hold it,” or “did the doctor say what you did wrong?” Just say “I’m sorry for your loss.  I’ll be praying for you.” 
  3. Quit asking “why.”  Talk about it with a friend or a professional but don’t get stuck in the “why” stage. There may be a medical reason that can physically help you; however, there is no emotionally acceptable or comforting answer.  Bad things happen.  Very bad things happen and trying to make sense out of the senseless only tortures you and prolongs your pain.  I remember crying out to God.  I didn’t get a reason why but I did get reminded that He knew exactly how it felt to lose a child. 
  4. Resume your daily routines- whether you feel like it or not.  Staying engaged is essential to keep short term grief from turning into long term depression. Shower, eat, work, exercise.  Don’t give up on life just because you’re hurting.  Don’t give up on God, either- even if your faith is wavering.  Keep plugging along.  Keep moving forward.  Baby steps count! You’ll get a little bit stronger and better everyday. You will get better.
  5. Realize that you won’t ever get over it but you will move past it.  There is a difference. It is vitally important to remember that while the feelings of loss and sadness will remain, the intense pain will one day subside.  Don’t feel guilty for beginning to get better, for enjoying others, and life again, or for growing beyond the grief. Life never stands still.  Everything changes: the good, the bad- it all moves along. 

Every one’s process and time is unique.  Don’t push yourself too fast or too hard.  Don’t beat yourself up- for feeling bad or for feeling good.  Emotions vary- it’s normal.  If you think you are not getting better or if you ever think about harming yourself or others, PLEASE GET HELP.  Your pastor, doctor, or mental health care center can direct you to available resources.

Over the past two years my husband and I have experienced several losses. I still cry a little sometimes. I am still healing.  I’m still growing. You will too.